Aaron\'s Live Writer Blog

December 2, 2010

What features should be added to Windows Live Writer?

Filed under: Live Writer — Tags: — Aaron Bregel @ 4:33 PM

At the end of every product cycle and after a product has been released to manufacturing or released to web the next logical step is to start to plan for the next version.  Of course in reality planning starts before product release and continues throughout the development milestones.

The question of the day and this post is “What features should be added to Windows Live Writer?”

Things I would like you to think about before you answer is what are features that are great for all bloggers?  For example “you should add replace to go along with the find feature”.  The other is what features do you selfishly want added? For example, “I do not care about Blogger users I want shortcode support for WordPress” or “clearly you need support for Posterous to be added to Live Writer”.  Also if there is something that you consider a “bug” that you would like to see fixed that would be great to hear about also.  In that case please be as detailed as possible.  It is not helpful to read something like “fix the fact that as everyone knows Live Writer uses <div> in tables incorrectly” (I made this example up but I hope it proves the point I am trying to make in that give as much detail as possible with examples).

I hope that the post fills with comments as I love to listen to your ideas.  I guess I should add that there is never any guarantee that any of your suggestions will make the next version.  Also I guess (I am not a lawyer nor do I play one on television) that by making a comment you are putting your idea(s) into the public domain so that anyone can use it.  The world of blogging is always changing.  Blog servers make changes monthly or even weekly.  New services appear and disappear.  We do our best to keep up while still keeping things compatible with the past.

Update: I am going to lock the comments on this post after 12/26.  I will be passing the feedback onto the team planning future work.

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50 Comments

  1. Hi,

    Thanks for caring about the user´s opinions.

    I have requested this feature before and I will request it again: native support for footnotes/endnotes. Currently, there is no good plugin to fill this gap. The ones I could find have two serious problems: a) They do not create a “back to the top” option. If the reader clicks on number[1], for instance, once he gets to the bottom, he has to use “page up” to come back to the excerpt he was reading. b) There is no “auto renumber” feature (like MS office word). If one creates 50 endnotes on his draft and latter decides to add a new note (let´s say number 3), he will have to manually renumber the other 48.

    Please consider adding this feature.

    Thanks a lot, once again.

    Comment by Amilcar — December 2, 2010 @ 4:52 PM

  2. If there is one feature I have wanted is support for WordPress image handling – and it’s new “Featured Image” option. For those of us running custom WordPress themes that require images to use WordPress’s image uploading pathing as well as things like custom fields (“thumbnail”)and alignment settings.

    Comment by Steven Hodson — December 2, 2010 @ 5:55 PM

  3. You already named it: Find & Replace would be amazing! Especially if it would remember the last phrase you searched for and what you replaced it with (comes in handy for example when you moved some images from yourdomain.com/photos/ to yourdomain.com/images/ and you want to update a couple of posts with the new path real quick in the “Source” panel).

    Support for WordPress’ image caption tags would also be nice (those you can add in the native WordPress editor, they put the image into a box and add the caption text below the image, within the box). If you load a post with them into Live Writer they get messed up :(

    Other than that: Thanks heaps for caring about your users as much as you do. I requested two features over the last year and I not only got a reply from a developer but both features where actually added with the next version coming out after that. I wish it would be that easy with every software company :)

    Comment by Josh — December 2, 2010 @ 5:56 PM

  4. Hi! I love Live Writer. I’d like to echo the comments above.

    Footnotes! I’ll be writing and want to make an aside and I can’t find a nice footnote feature like Word has.

    Better image handling – I’d like to be able to caption images specifically (not alt text – but have a border around the image & some text within that border)

    here’s a higher-pri one
    I like to use Mesh to sync my blogpost drafts across computers – it’s not easy to go in and change where draft posts are stored. I’d also like my settings to be consistent across all computers, but I can’t find where settings are kept so it doesn’t sync with Mesh. This would be a great use of the Mesh Program sync function which I never use :)

    Comment by zach — December 2, 2010 @ 6:22 PM

  5. There’s an option of Gaussian Blur in Picture effects in WLWriter . I would like to further improve this by providing an option to blur a portion of image. Because many times we want to blur just a part of image like hiding the mailID in the image. So this option will be handy if its present in Writer itself.

    Comment by vasudev — December 2, 2010 @ 6:28 PM

  6. in-built feature that automatically provides space after a period , is there any plug-in available for this?

    Comment by venkat — December 2, 2010 @ 6:36 PM

  7. I want Writer to correctly sync with all the new themes that WordPress.com is busy churning out Aaron, especially the new Fusion one which currently does not work correctly in Live Writer in that the title of the post is stuck up in the Header area so you can’t see it. Also any pictures or photos that you place with text wrap have some border added where they shouldn’t have. (probably the theme’s default but shouldn’t be there.)
    I too would request that now that we Spacers are encouraged to use WordPress, you use the WordPress Media features more in Writer such as the Slideshow feature and Gallery’s as well. One nice effect from Word that I would love to be added to the picture tools is the ‘soft edge’ effect which looks fantastic.
    I would also request (as I have elsewhere) that you place as much of the File list on the ribbon instead of hiding it under the file icon. Some of the ribbon,especially the ‘Blog Account’ one looks really bare at the moment and could easily take Open Local Draft and Open Recent Post, Save, Print etc so that newbies to Writer can easily find them.

    That’s all for now! (well you did ask!)

    TG

    Comment by Technogran — December 3, 2010 @ 6:57 AM

  8. Better photo handling.
    I loved the way it used to work on Live Spaces but now I’ve migrated to WordPress it just seems broken.
    Also, when I use a picture from a URL I can’t apply effects. If it is a picture from my PC then they all work fine.

    I also used to use a plug-in to format text as “code” but the WordPress site doesn’t respect it. Not sure if that is a WP or WLW issue.

    One of my biggest bugbears is that the ribbon may look like the one in Office but it is missing so many of the cool stuff I can create in Word (custom styles, more picture options) but the one that bugs me the most is when a keyboard shortcut doesn’t match or even exist. E.G. CTRL+[ to increase the font size.

    Comment by thommck — December 3, 2010 @ 7:20 AM

  9. 1. Option to store drafts on Skydrive rather than locally.
    2. Sync settings (blog accounts etc…) using Mesh
    3. Use the same custom dictionary/autocorrects used by Office apps. (Ideally all of these should be synced using Mesh also so that they can be used in Office Web Apps).

    That’s about it. I don’t really see how Writer can be improved much from what it is today. Is that why you’re asking? ;)

    cheers
    JT

    Comment by Jamie Thomson — December 3, 2010 @ 7:24 AM

  10. A new icon!! And the ability to sync settings etc. with Windows Live Mesh.

    Comment by doctorwhofan98 — December 3, 2010 @ 7:32 AM

  11. Mac support! :) It would be the killer MSFT cross platform app. Or make it web based like MSFT Dynamics CRM with the ribbon, or OneNote and other office apps at office.live.com

    I would second Jamie Thomson’s points as well – Steve

    Comment by Steve — December 3, 2010 @ 7:33 AM

  12. *) Provide an extension management system like that in Visual Studio 2010 (Gallery, Extension Manager, packaging, updates, etc… I love VS’s extension support system and it’s the one to beat…).
    *) Also like in VS2010, extend extension support via MEF.
    *) Provide means to map keyboard shortcuts to plugins
    *) Provide means to edit/change built-in keyboard shortcuts
    *) Open existing features to allow for extension (for example, let extension/plug-in devs plug into the picture feature to add new capabilities beyond those that are baked in, i.e. to let 3rd parties do what vasudev wants… etc)
    *) What Zach/JT said (Mesh sync of settings, post/draft post to Skydrive)
    *) Allow sync (via Mesh) of extensions/plugins
    *) Extension support to the editor (to allow us to write plugins venkat would like)

    In short, make it simpler and easier for 3rd parties to extend WLW… :)

    Comment by Greg Duncan — December 3, 2010 @ 7:44 AM

  13. TUMBLR SUPPORT. And maybe Posterous, too.

    I also LOVE the idea of Footnotes. Do it!

    Thanks for soliciting feedback for a great product.

    Comment by mrshl — December 3, 2010 @ 9:18 AM

  14. [...] Ja kehitysryhmä pyytää ehdotuksia toteutettaviksi ominaisuuksiksi. Kehitysideat voit jättää tänne: http://livewriterblog.wordpress.com/2010/12/02/what-features-should-be-added-to-windows-live-writer/ [...]

    Pingback by Apon Treenipäiväkirja » Live Writerin seuraavan version ideointi on käynnissä — December 3, 2010 @ 12:18 PM

  15. What about support for forums (vBulletin, phpBB) and BBCode? Most of my content generation takes place in that environment rather than blogs.

    Comment by james — December 3, 2010 @ 4:09 PM

  16. First off all is “Find & Replace” definitely needed.

    The second is how image formating handle the image size in post. When I resize image to something the size that show in the panel always give wrong value.

    More image handle, for wordpress, all image is not assign to the post but just attached to the post. So, when visiting Media or Image Gallery section in Dashboard there is no way to manage any image.

    Comment by n/e — December 3, 2010 @ 4:54 PM

  17. After copying a page from Expression Web 4 (in Design mode) to Live Writer (in Edit mode), the page will not publish to WordPress; error given is “Picture Upload Not Supported by Blog” even when there is no picture in Live Writer (or Expression Web page).

    However, a copy from Expression Web 4 in Code view to Live Writer in Source mode brings up no errors and all works as it should with the entry published successfully to WordPress.

    Comment by Bernie Halpin — December 3, 2010 @ 8:10 PM

  18. I would love to have a Windows Phone 7 version!

    Comment by Rodrigo — December 3, 2010 @ 10:52 PM

  19. I know this won’t happen, but make it work on Mac. When I moved to Apple Mac, Windows Live Writer is one of the things I missed and regardless of what the reviews may say, there is nothing that quite touches it on the Mac.

    Comment by Kam Lagan — December 4, 2010 @ 3:04 AM

  20. 1) Ability to reorder controls on the Quick Access Toolbar something that can be done in for example Word and Excel.

    2) Possible to select multiple images and changing the properties of them.

    3) Alternate text and title text for images should not be a dialog box I think. These two properties should be available directly on the Ribbon for quicker access. It should also be possible to save as default if you want to have one or both of them empty.

    4) Be able to install different versions side by side.

    5) Be able to install by just copying the files making it possible to have installation for example on a memory stick.

    6) Sort categories without taking into consideration upper or lower case.

    7) Find and Replace.

    8) Format Painter.

    9) Change case functionality like in Word.

    10) Bug fixes…

    Comment by Jimmy Bergmark — December 4, 2010 @ 5:35 AM

  21. What I’ve been wanting to see every since Writer became available was the ability to download all previous posts from blogs already written, whether done with writer or not. Right now you can view those blogs, but not save the posts to your hard drive. Zoundry Raven offers this functionality and has for a number of years – it would be nice to see Writer also include this.

    Comment by Stephen — December 4, 2010 @ 11:04 AM

  22. There are several things I would like to see and in no order of importance…

    1) Ability to create a common install package (easily). I have several writers for a blog and I would like them all to have the same configuration. They are all non-technical people, so an installer with specific add-ons would be great.

    2) I would love to be able to publish to a flat html file. I know this is odd, but it would nice to have some basic templates and just publish a static page.

    3) More reasonable… I would think that it would be incredible to use Live Writer to publish to a Wiki (Wikipedia).

    4) Ability to put a credit under an image.

    5) On the footnote idea, it would be nice to be able to put links down at the bottom for the news Source automatically. When you link something, just have a check box that says “cite as a source”. Have it create a link to the site or article with that article or sites title.

    6) Better support for WordPress sites that are in a Network setting (formerly Mu or Multi-User).

    That’s a pretty good start.

    Comment by Stu — December 4, 2010 @ 12:50 PM

  23. [...] 2. can take this as an reference: 1) main page http://livewriterblog.wordpress.com/ 2) post page: http://livewriterblog.wordpress.com/2010/12/02/what-features-should-be-added-to-windows-live-writer/ [...]

    Pingback by put ad on your blog | Somebody's — December 4, 2010 @ 4:15 PM

  24. [...] Windows Live Writer 开放团队成员之一的 Aaron Bregel,在他博客上发起了下一版 Writer 的新特性需求征集: 在每个产品周期结束并且已经 RTM/RTW [...]

    Pingback by Writer 团队成员 Aaron Bregel 通过博客征集 Wave 5 需求 : 有方网-一切如此简单 — December 4, 2010 @ 4:21 PM

  25. [...] Aaron posted something new on his website and it’s truly more [I think] of a personal existential experiment than what Microsoft would openly offer. But it’s nice to see that Aaron is willing to step out of the box and make an attempt to put a human face to the Windows Live Writer dev team, and for Microsoft in general. [...]

    Pingback by Windows Live Writer 2011 – 15 Most Requested Fixes/Updates | LEHSYS — December 4, 2010 @ 6:14 PM

  26. Aaron,
    Kudos to you sir. You know I hangout in the forums and I hear all the requests coming through. I saw that you created this inquiry poll; I believe it’s very curious in asking this— for the public to respond. But I wanted to answer back, but at the same time, I believe I needed to write my own post on the issue, as a response.

    Link:

    http://www.lehsys.com/2010/12/windows-live-writer-2011-15-most-requested-fixesupdates/

    Until next time,
    Larry Henry Jr.

    Comment by Larry Henry — December 4, 2010 @ 6:18 PM

  27. Hello Aaron,
    Writer disables all the “Undo” options after toggling between source and edit mode incase there was a typo in the html tags. Everything after that line disappears.
    Ability to add custom css classes and anchors. Currently the Plugins “Apply CSS class” does the first one.
    Still having problems editing previous posts. If they were edited through wordpress admin, writer does not retrieve the updated post, but loads the local draft.
    As always, extended platform support would be great! Formatting options in writer seem pretty limited.

    Writer is probably the best blogging client around. Great work!

    Comment by Kavin — December 4, 2010 @ 9:38 PM

  28. It will be cool if I can customize URLs in Writer :-D

    Comment by fx_wonder — December 5, 2010 @ 5:21 AM

  29. Most important for me would be native tagging, moods, location, and music for Live Journal. You can do tagging now, but it just results in the tags being typed into the actual blog as opposed to entered as searchable metadata, which is what happens when you tag them on livejournal.com. Also, support for Myspace would be really nice.

    Comment by Wraith — December 5, 2010 @ 10:53 PM

  30. 1. Easy anchor links and anchors within page
    2. Advanced text formatting (maybe some integration with word), btw how come live writer has features that word doesn’t?
    3. Populating text formatting from theme css sheet

    Comment by noonesshadow — December 6, 2010 @ 8:15 AM

  31. [...] Aaron Bregel, a Live Writer developer, has a post up where he is asking his reader that question: Things I would like you to think about before you answer is what are [...]

    Pingback by A running list of requests for the next Windows Live Writer | winextra — December 6, 2010 @ 2:58 PM

  32. I would love to be able to add a caption to a photo without adding it to the source. Immediately below the photo, within the same tag.

    It would also be cool to put text directly on the photo with more options than the watermark function.

    I want to be able to upload a file to my server easily. Create a file icon (or something I could customize in an tag) with an immediate link to that file which will be uploaded to my server when I publish the post.

    Same for music. I have a flash player plugin that I have smashed around to get to work for what I have. How about some Sliverlight default player that I can simply select the mp3/wma (URL or file) and play it right there?

    Comment by Jason — December 7, 2010 @ 4:25 PM

    • HTML error!

      I meant to show an “A” tag where the post gets a little messy there.

      Comment by Jason — December 7, 2010 @ 4:27 PM

  33. [...] Bitte schreibe deine Gedanken unter den englischen Original-Beitrag im Windows Live Writer-Blog. [...]

    Pingback by Welche Funktionen hättest du gern in Live Writer? — December 8, 2010 @ 10:45 AM

  34. I’ve many things that I would suggest for the next version, but after the negative feedback received before Wave 4, I won’t retry anymore. :(

    Comment by floo — December 10, 2010 @ 5:55 AM

  35. Dear all:

    Thank you very much for sharing opinions. What should Writer include? Here a list of things I would like to have:

    1.- Fix Bug in code generation: for WordPress bloggers there is no way to change fonts, due to html generation format:
    =====> Code OK: [span style="FONT-FAMILY: Franklin Gothic Medium; FONT-SIZE: 36px"] casa[/span]
    =====> Code NOK (MS Live Generate): [p][font size="7" face="Impact"]Casa[/font][/p]

    2.- HTML excerpt edition: I have to code the html for the excerpts manually or manage a complete range of snipets. Very annoying.

    3.- Enhance a lot the Previewing system : for WordPress, just shows the excerpts page, but filled with the posts, so, what you see is totally different from what you get. We are using a development server on PC for such purposes.

    4.- Customizable CSS Ribbon Styles Menu: easy way to access all your css styles (footer notes, different texts sections, etc.), not just the h1…h6. This is much better than changing fonts directly.

    5.- YouTube channel full integration : reproduction lists
    =====> Able to insert any video from your channel, no matter if you uploaded or just linked
    =====> Able to insert access to a full list of reproduction

    There are more things, but those are the most important ones. MWLW makes blogging much easier than ever before, but still difficult for certain people. You still have to manage URLs, HTML snippets, etc.

    Kind Regards,

    César

    Comment by Cesar — December 10, 2010 @ 1:54 PM

  36. 1. Tumblr support. Especially because Tumblr allows full HTML editing, unlike WordPress.com free (not talking about hosted wordpress.org). This is really cool because I have, for instance added pinned-site/jumplist support to my Tumblr for IE9. So it’s a great way for Live to integrate with IE. Tumblr also has poor support for slideshows, which is something that Writer can solve with some help from Skydrive, no?

    2. Stop blocking me from using Writer if I do not choose a supported platform or create a new WordPress blog on first run. The 2009 version let me use Writer anyway & do the set-up later, but 2011 just exits out if I wanna do that.

    3. Fix the plugin discovery process, aka, Live Gallery is long overdue for a reworking. I’d suggest integrating IE addons, Bing map apps, Live plugins, emoticons, Windows gadgets, Office themes, templates, Silverlight, XNA, native & web apps & games into one common Marketplace.

    4. Regarding Mesh support, Mesh needs to backup data, settings, styles & favorites to Skydrive, not just sync them between devices. For instance, while manually added favorites folder is currently synced to Skydrive. automatic IE sync only works between devices.

    5. Create Xbox, Bing, Zune, Office & WP7 themes for blogs.

    6. If putting a lot of resources into Writer development is unsustainable within Live due to a passionate but small userbase, why not move it into Office or bundle a pro version in Home & Student/Business? See how OneNote has flourished for instance after being included.

    Comment by MS nerd — December 11, 2010 @ 12:58 AM

  37. [...] If you have any wishes for WLW features or bug fixes leave a comment on Microsoft’s Aaron’s Live Writer Blog. [...]

    Pingback by Windows Live Writer 2011 picture quality bug | G Max — December 12, 2010 @ 6:33 AM

  38. Ditto re: making it available on the Mac – it would quite quickly become the #1 blogging software on Mac OS as Blogo, Marsedit etc.. just don’t come close to WLW.

    Comment by Nicholas — December 12, 2010 @ 2:24 PM

  39. I would love to see a Windows Phone 7 version of Live Writer for short blog entries on the go when an idea strikes or an image demands it.

    Comment by Steve — December 13, 2010 @ 10:32 AM

  40. Bug fix urgently needed for blurry pictures.

    http://blog.jtbworld.com/2010/12/windows-live-writer-2011-picture.html

    Comment by Jimmy Bergmark — December 13, 2010 @ 3:44 PM

  41. Tumblr support please. It is the one thing that keeps me from using live writer. Thanks.

    Comment by pasan — December 14, 2010 @ 12:02 PM

  42. [...] Please enter your ideas as comments below this original post. [...]

    Pingback by Windows Live Writer: Calling for ideas — December 16, 2010 @ 6:35 AM

  43. Although it has been mentioned already I want to add this request so it can be seen as a commonly requested feature: Search and Replace.

    Right now I copy the source code into Notepad and then back again. It works but that functionality should be standard in the program.

    It is a great product so thanks for asking the community for ideas.

    Comment by Richard Hay — December 17, 2010 @ 2:25 AM

  44. Make it available for Linux, improve the Spanish translations and also improve the Preview function, it does not work with my WordPress theme, Fusion. Thanks!!! :)

    Comment by Fitoschido — December 21, 2010 @ 3:23 AM

    • Can you give examples of where the Spanish translations need work and also which build you have installed.

      Comment by Aaron Bregel — December 21, 2010 @ 7:21 PM

  45. add support for drupal – one of the biggest blogging platforms out there. currently we use the wordpress option to connect drupal sites with live writer.

    Comment by Tim — December 23, 2010 @ 4:08 PM

  46. Echo Tim’s above. Needs easy support for Drupal.

    I’ve only used Live Writer for Drupal, so I’m not sure this issue is applicable for other. Live Writer currently uses ABSOLUTE URL paths for images in the output html that ends up on posts. This is a terrible thing for those of us who develop sites on beta domains.

    Comment by Gordon Atkinson — December 24, 2010 @ 6:33 AM

    • Please note that my comment is more than just an echo of Tim’s request. It also contains a new request. Relative URLs for images.

      Comment by Gordon Atkinson — December 24, 2010 @ 6:34 AM


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